American sports, eerily echoing political coverage

As with the last post, it’s time to look at how women athletes are covered in media to further understand the media atmosphere female politicians face. While the Olympics seem to be improving in the amount of coverage women receive, regular media attention of female athletes, who comprise around 40% of all athletes, is less than encouraging. Take in account that only 4% of media coverage is dedicated to women’s sports, something that is concerning considering that lack of attention given to the sport in this small amount of coverage:

Girls also see a double standard in covering women’s sports. When male athletes receive media attention, such coverage is primarily focused on their skilled performance. When female athletes receive media attention, the media is much more likely to focus on their physical attractiveness or non-sport-related activities. –Donna A. Lopiano, Ph.D., President, Sports Management Resources

Which is exactly the problem, according to Mary Jo Kane, a professor at the University of Minnesota, “The thing that we infrequently see is images of women athletes as athletes.” That seems to be a common theme that echoes in the coverage of female politicians as well, as hyper-feminized content takes away from a woman’s political goals and platforms. Below is an excerpt from Playing Unfair, a documentary put out in 2007 by the Media Education Foundation:

 

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